The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Force carbonating soda at home

| January 31, 2010

These things are neat. The flavors pretty well suck, but using a fruit juice concentrate or some lime juice or something is quite nice.

Is network mounted /usr/local obsolete?

| January 30, 2010

It used to be that, back in the day, /usr/local was an NFS mount on a central server, with appropriate trickery so that each machine got the correct binaries for its architecture. This allowed for reduced storage requirements, plus easy upgrades of new applications. I question if this is an idea which has basically become obsolete.


  • computers have become a sufficient commodity that everyone has their own
  • disk space (eg fast local storage) is cheap

We can evaluate our objectives in that context:

  1. Centralized application distribution is no longer necessary in that sense. Just add an additional in-house repository to your clients’ existing repository list and you’ve done the same thing, only with fast local storage. I mean, I suppose you could still install them to /usr/local, but it wouldn’t be a network mount.
  2. On the individual machine side, I’d also tend to install things like video games in /usr/local, so that all users could share them – except there’s only one user on the machine, so what’s the point? For that matter, rather than installing whatever it was on two machines, just install it in your homedir and sync it amongst machines. For that matter, if it doesn’t work in the machine, just exclude it from the sync list.

I suppose that this isn’t really revolutionary, but I just realized that I was doing it stupidly, so I figured I’d share.

Do you have your tickets….

| January 30, 2010

to the gun show?

Lizzy, my father in law and I went to the Saratoga gun show today. Of note:

  • Ammo prices to be back down to reasonably sane levels.
  • Several vendors had black rifles, with prices being reasonable. New SR 556 and Sig 556 rifles were in the $1500 range. I didn’t see a Sig 516, but considering it’s not on their website yet, that’s unsurprising. There were also some very nice US and Russian production AK’s for about $800.
  • Stag arms is also apparently doing a piston drive AR for a reasonable price as well, the Model 8. The price on that was very close to MSRP, however, at $1100. Still, it’s an $1100 piston drive AR, which is a bit more the speed I’m looking at.. just not today.
  • I was very tempted by a fixer-upper M1 Garand (visible rust under the bluing, lots of bluing worn off, crappy plastic stock) for $700, but I didn’t even bother to pull it off the rack because the last thing I need right now is another project.
  • There was a tempting Savage in .30-06 with crappy scope for $270, but the barrel had some visible rust on it as well. Once again, I could have fixed it up, but if I was going to buy a Savage, I’d want one of those accu-triggers. Still, that’s a rifle you can not feel bad about getting a little wet out in a stand or something. But, I passed.
  • There was another nice Remington in 7mm Rem Mag, for $575, but it was too nice. Nicely blued, beautiful wood, but I’d feel bad getting that one wet.
  • I did, however, find a used Taurus PT145 (this the current production one, mine is older) for $300 (with the two factory mags and standard white dot sights). I’d had my eye on the newer and smaller PT745, but after handling the 145, it really wasn’t that small This looks to have been someone’s carry gun, given a decent amount of wear at the muzzle. However, the gun is clean, the two mags brand new, the feed ramp slick, no sign of wear at the ramp, etc. Carried a lot and shot a little, by the looks of it, which is always a good thing.

So, weerdbeard can stop nagging me about replacing my .25 auto. 😛

Gamers Helping Haiti

| January 20, 2010

A $20 donation gets you a pile of PDF downloads. Linky. More info